Webinar - The Future of Human Rights for Asia’s Minorities

This event is organized by ASIL’s Asia-Pacific Interest Group and Human Rights Interest Group.

May 27, 2021

8:00 – 9:30 am Eastern Time

Register here: www.asil.org/events


Does international human rights law protect the human rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Asia? The Asian region is home to some of the most urgent human rights crises in the world, including the “re-education” of Uyghurs, the Rohingya refugee crisis, and mass curfew restrictions in Kashmir. In each case, a Muslim minority group is deprived of a number of core human rights. According to first-hand reports by escapees, since 2017, a significant number of Uyghurs are subjected to extra-judicial detention in China’s camps which include invasive surveillance, forced labor, systematic restriction of their culture, education and right to practice Islam, and forced sterilization and rape. In 2017, the Myanmar army cracked down on Rohingya leading hundreds of thousands to flee to Bangladesh while those who remained in Rakhine State are deprived of the right to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. In 2019, after long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, the special status of the territory administrated by India was abrogated and a blackout was imposed across the region. Political leaders have been detained, markets closed, and most public services suspended. International law has thus far made limited inroads into these crises. In 2020, the International Court of Justice issued its decision on the request for provisional measures in the matter of The Gambia v. Myanmar ruling that Myanmar must take steps to prevent genocidal acts pursuant to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, although time will tell if the Burmese government complies. Claims of genocide or variants (e.g., “cultural genocide”) have been alleged in Xinjiang, however, in 2020, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court decided it would not take forward the case of the Uyghurs. Thus far, international law has had even less reach into the Kashmir dispute despite claims that India has violated the self-determination of Kashmiris, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This webinar will assess these three cases and determine possible future routes for greater compliance with international human rights standards.


  • Dr. Mohsin Alam Bhat, Associate Professor and Executive Director of the Centre for Public Interest Law, Jindal Global Law School
  • Dr. Priya Pillai, International Lawyer and Head of the Asia Justice Coalition Secretariat
  • Nury Turkel, Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute, Commissioner on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Chair & Co-founder of the Uyghur Human Rights Project
  • Wai Wai Nu, Founder, Women’s Peace Network
  • Dr. Shrimoyee Ghosh, Assistant Professor, Azim Premji University
  • Ben Emmerson CBE QC, Partner, King & Spalding
  • Professor Matthew Erie, University of Oxford (moderator)